Centers & Labs

RIKEN Quantitative Biology Center

Laboratory for Physical Biology

Team Leader: Tatsuo Shibata (Ph.D.)
Tatsuo  Shibata(Ph.D.)

Advances in measurement technologies have afforded us glimpses into dynamic functional processes, such as morphogenesis and information processing, in cells and tissues involved in development and regeneration. The truly organic dynamism of the biological phenomena exhibited by living cells, individually or in groups, emerges from the coordinated interaction of numerous molecular and genetic factors, and the need for integrated, systems-based approaches to the study of design and operating principles in such “living” phenomena is becoming increasingly clear. This will require not only technologies for the measurement of such elements but the development of applicable mathematical methods as well. In Laboratory for Physical Biology, we will seek to use concepts and methodology from mathematical sciences such as physics in the study and elucidation of these emerging questions in biology.


  • Cell polarity
  • Body axis formation
  • chemotaxis
  • Cell migration
  • Collective cell migration

Selected Publications

Papers with an asterisk(*) are based on research conducted outside of RIKEN.
  1. Wen, Fu-Lai , Wang, Yu-Chiun, Shibata, Tatsuo,
    "Epithelial Folding Driven by Apical or Basal-Lateral Modulation: Geometric Features, Mechanical Inference, and Boundary Effects".
    Biophysical Journal, 112(12): 2683-2695. (2017)
  2. Sato, K., Hiraiwa, T., Maekawa, E., Isomura, A., Shibata, T. & Kuranaga, E.:
    "Left–right asymmetric cell intercalation drives directional collective cell movement in epithelial morphogenesis"
    Nat. Commun. 6, 10074 (2015)
  3. Sato, K., Hiraiwa, T. & Shibata, T.:
    "Cell Chirality Induces Collective Cell Migration in Epithelial Sheets"
    Phys. Rev. Lett. 115, 188102 (2015)
  4. Hiraiwa, T., Nagamatsu, A., Akuzawa, N., Nishikawa, M. & Shibata, T.:
    "Relevance of intracellular polarity to accuracy of eukaryotic chemotaxis"
    Phys. Biol. 11, 056002 (2014)
  5. Nishikawa, M., Horning, M., Ueda, M. & Shibata, T.:
    "Excitable Signal Transduction Induces Both Spontaneous and Directional Cell Asymmetries in the Phosphatidylinositol Lipid Signaling System for Eukaryotic Chemotaxis"
    Biophys. J. 106, 723-734 (2014)
  6. Shibata, T., Nishikawa, M., Matsuoka, S. & Ueda, M.:
    "Intracellular Encoding of Spatiotemporal Guidance Cues in a Self-Organizing Signaling System for Chemotaxis in Dictyostelium Cells"
    Biophys. J. 105, 2199-2209 (2013)
  7. Inomata, H., Shibata, T., Haraguchi, T. & Sasai, Y.:
    "Scaling of Dorsal-Ventral Patterning by Embryo Size-Dependent Degradation of Spemann's Organizer Signals"
    Cell 153, 1296-1311 (2013)
  8. Hiraiwa, T., Baba, A. & Shibata, T.:
    "Theoretical model for cell migration with gradient sensing and shape deformation"
    Eur. Phys. J. E 36, 9 (2013)
  9. Baba, A., Hiraiwa, T. & Shibata, T.:
    "Directional sensing of deformed cells under faint gradients"
    Phys. Rev. E 86, 5 (2012)
  10. Shibata, T., Nishikawa, M., Matsuoka, S. & Ueda, M.:
    "Modeling the self-organized phosphatidylinositol lipid signaling system in chemotactic cells using quantitative image analysis"
    J. Cell Sci. 125, 5138-5150 (2012)

Lab Members

Principal Investigator

Tatsuo Shibata
Team Leader

Core Members

Yukiko Nakaya
Research Scientist
Fu-Lai Wen
Special Postdoctoral Researcher
Takaki Yamamoto
Postdoctoral Researcher
Yuko Wada
Technical Staff I
Ayako Isomura
Technical Staff I

Contact information

2-2-3 Minatojima-minamimachi, Chuo-ku
Kobe, Hyogo
650-0047 Japan

Email: tatsuo.shibata [at]

Related links